Monday, June 18, 2018

[Ornithology • 2018] Discovery of A Rare Hybrid Specimen Known as Maria’s Bird of Paradise at the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig

Figure 1. Plate of the male hybrid bird of paradise Paradisaea maria from Reichenow (1897). 

Figure 2. Plates of Paradisaea guilielmi (upper) and P. raggiana augustaevictoriae (lower),
the presumed parental species of P. maria, related to the original descriptions by Cabanis (1888).  

Reproduced from the Biodiversity heritage library ( 
in Koch, 2018.   DOI: 10.3897/zse.94.25139 

The discovery of a rare hybrid specimen of Maria’s bird of paradise (Paradisaea maria, i.e., P. guilielmi × P. raggiana augustaevictoriae) in the ornithological collection of the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig (SNMB) is reported. Until today only six male specimens (deposited in the natural history museums in Berlin and New York) and presumably one female have been identified in collections world-wide. The male specimen in Braunschweig corresponds well in its plumage colouration with an historical illustration and photographs of the original type specimen from the 19th century housed at the Berlin collection. It shows intermediate characteristics between both parental species, viz. the Emperor bird of paradise (P. guilielmi) and the Raggiana bird of paradise (P. raggiana augustaevictoriae). In addition, we try to elucidate the circumstances how this rare specimen of hybrid origin, which formerly belonged to the natural history collection of the factory owner Walter Behrens from Bad Harzburg, came to the SNMB. Our unexpected discovery highlights the importance to maintain, support and study also smaller private natural history collections, since they may house historical voucher specimens of high scientific value.

Key Words: Paradisaea maria, Ornithology, Natural history collections, New Guinea, Type specimens, Hybridisation, Private collector, Walter Behrens, Haus der Natur

 André Koch. 2018. Discovery of A Rare Hybrid Specimen Known as Maria’s Bird of Paradise at the Staatliches Naturhistorisches Museum in Braunschweig. Zoosystematics and Evolution. 94(2): 315-324.  DOI: 10.3897/zse.94.25139

Zusammenfassung: Es wird über die Entdeckung eines seltenen Exemplars des Hybrid-Paradiesvogels Paradisaea maria (d.h. Paradisaea guilielmi × P. raggiana augustaevictoriae), in der ornithologischen Sammlung des Staatlichen Naturhistorischen Museums in Braunschweig (SNMB) berichtet. Bis heute sind lediglich sechs männliche (aus den Museen in Berlin und New York) und vermutlich ein weibliches Exemplar in internationalen Naturkundesammlungen bekannt geworden. Das männliche Exemplar aus Braunschweig entspricht in seiner Gefiederfärbung einer historischen Abbildung und Fotos des ursprünglichen Typusexemplars aus dem 19. Jahrhundert, das sich im Berliner Museum befindet. Es zeigt deutlich intermediäre Merkmalsausprägungen zwischen den beiden Elternarten, dem Kaiserparadiesvogel (P. guilielmi) und dem Raggi-Paradiesvogel (P. raggiana augustaevictoriae). Die Umstände, wie dieser seltene Hybrid-Paradiesvogel, der ehemals Teil der Sammlung des Fabrikanten Walter Behrens aus Bad Harzburg war, in die SNMB-Sammlung gelangte, werden erläutert. Unsere unerwartete Entdeckung unterstreicht die Bedeutung, auch kleinere private naturkundliche Sammlungen zu bewahren, zu erhalten und zu erforschen, da sie historische Belegexemplare von hoher wissenschaftlicher Bedeutung enthalten können.

[Herpetology • 2018] Hynobius tosashimizuensis • Morphological and Molecular Analyses of Hynobius dunni Reveal A New Species from Shikoku, Japan

Hynobius tosashimizuensis 
 Sugawara, Watabe, Yoshikawa & Nagano, 2018

We describe a new species of lentic salamander of the genus Hynobius. From our examination of specimens from the Kyushu and Shikoku populations of Hynobius dunni, individuals of each population have distinct morphological and molecular traits. On this basis, we describe the Shikoku population as a new species. Morphological comparisons revealed that most individuals of H. dunni possessed distinct black spots on the dorsum, but that the new species lacks these spots. Furthermore, the mean snout–vent length was smaller for the new species than for the Kyushu population of H. dunni. Phylogenetic analyses with the use of fragments of the 16S rRNA and cytochrome b genes also distinguish the new species from individuals in the Kyushu population. The new species has been found in only seven artificial ponds, with approximately 80 clutches of eggs found each year. This endangered species might have the smallest distribution of all those in the genus Hynobius.

Keywords: Cryptic species, Discriminant analysis, Endangered species, Lentic salamander, Mitochondrial DNA

FIG. 4.—Holotype of Hynobius tosashimizuensis sp. nov. (TKPM-H131, adult male):
(A) dorsal view, (B) ventral view, and (C) lateral view.

Hynobius tosashimizuensis sp. nov.

Etymology.— The specific epithet is derived from ‘‘Tosashimizu City,’’ Kochi Prefecture, where the new species occurs. Suggested common name in Japanese: Tosashimizu-sanshouo. 

Hirotaka Sugawara, Takashi Watabe, Takaomi Yoshikawa and Masahiro Nagano. 2018. Morphological and Molecular Analyses of Hynobius dunni Reveal a New Species from Shikoku, Japan. Herpetologica. 74(2); 159-168.  DOI: 10.1655/Herpetologica-D-17-00002.1

New species of salamander identified in Shikoku: study - The Mainichi

Saturday, June 16, 2018

[Herpetology • 2018] Amolops gerutu & A. australis • Elevational Size Variation and Two New Species of Torrent Frogs (Anura: Ranidae: Amolops Cope) from Peninsular Malaysia

[A, C]  Amolops larutensis (Boulenger, 1899)
[B, D] Amolops gerutu 
Chan, Abraham, Grismer & Grismer, 2018

  (A) female Amolops larutensis from Fraser's Hill, Pahang; (B) female A. gerutu from Chemerong, Pahang;
 (C) male A. larutensis from Fraser's Hill; (D) male A. gerutu from Sekayu, Terengganu;

Previously, only one species of torrent frog (Amolops larutensis) was thought to occur throughout Peninsular Malaysia. However, genomic work has demonstrated that populations from eastern Peninsular Malaysia form two separate lineages that are genetically distinct from A. larutensis that is now restricted to the western half of Peninsular Malaysia. This study demonstrates that all three lineages can be morphologically distinguished from each other, thereby providing additional support for the recognition of the eastern lineages as two distinct species. These lineages are described herein as Amolops gerutu sp. nov. from the eastern states of Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang, and A. australis sp. nov. from the southern-most state of Johor. In general, these two new species form a clade that is sister to A. larutensis and can be readily distinguished from it by having: (1) considerably denser and more pronounced dorsal tubercles, and (2) the posterodorsal surface of thighs having dense, dark stippling as opposed to broad vermiculations. Although differences in other morphometric characters were detected, their utility as diagnostic characters should be applied with caution due to the large intraspecific variation that overlaps among different species in many of the characters we measured. As such, we advocate for the use of tuberculation and pattern of the posterodorsal portion of the thighs as primary diagnostic characters. These characters can readily distinguish A. larutensis from the two new species. To differentiate A. australis sp. nov. from A. gerutu sp. nov. and A. larutensis, body size can be a good diagnostic character as A. australis sp. nov. is significantly smaller in both males (mean = 31.04 ± 1.59 mm) and females (mean = 46.48 ± 3.2 mm). Additionally, we show a strong positive correlation between body size and elevation, with populations from montane forests (>900 m asl) being considerably larger than populations at lower elevations.
Keywords: Amphibia, Taxonomy, systematics, morphology, amphibian, cryptic species, body size

Amolops gerutu sp. nov.
Tuberculated Torrent Frog

Amolops larutensis Sumarli, Grismer, Anuar, Muin & Quah, 2015, pp 4,9,12.

Distribution. Besides the type locality, Amolops gerutu sp. nov. has been documented from a number of other localities east of the Titiwangsa mountain range including Gunung Stong Forest Reserve, in the state of Kelantan; Lata Tembakah, Lata Belatan, and Sekayu Recreational Forest in the state of Terengganu (Dring 1979; Sumarli et al. 2015); and Sungai Lembing, Sungai Pandan Waterfall, and Chemerong Amenity Forest in the state of Pahang. At Gunung Stong, A. gerutu sp. nov. occurs in syntopy with A. larutensis (Fig. 1).

Natural history. Like most congeners, Amolops gerutu sp. nov. is a strict torrent specialist that only occurs within or along torrential zones of rocky streams from lowland to montane forests. During the day, frogs dwell in rock cracks and sheltered areas among boulder stacks along streams and are rarely seen out in the open. They can be seen in abundance at night, most frequently on boulders by splash zones and occasionally on adjacent low vegetation. When disturbed, frogs dive into the rapids and float downstream. Like other congeners, tadpoles of this species are gastromyzophorous (Pham et al. 2015) and can be seen clinging onto boulders in the splash zone. On such boulders, tadpoles are usually observed above or just below the water line.

Etymology. The specific epithet “gerutu” (English pronunciation “gir-roo-too”) refers to the Malay word of the same construct, meaning “tubercle”, in reference to the pronounced dorsal tubercles that are diagnostic of this species.

Amolops australis sp. nov.
Southern Torrent Frog

Amolops larutensis, Ahmad, Senawi & Lim 2004, p 26; Belabut & Hashim, 2005, p 200; Wood, Grismer, Youmans, Nasir, Ahmad & Senawi, 2008, p 118; Grismer & Pan, 2008, p. 277 (in part); Shahriza, Ibrahim, Anuar & Muin, 2012, p 558, 561.
Staurois larutensis, Belabut & Hashim, 2004, pp. 67, 69.

Distribution. Amolops australis sp. nov. is only known from the southern state of Johor where it has been confirmed to occur in Endau-Rompin National Park and Bantang River Amenity Forest. It is presumed to occur more widely in suitable habitats in the surrounding southern region of Peninsular Malaysia.

Natural history. The natural history of this species is similar to that of Amolops gerutu sp. nov. and A. larutensis. No information is available for tadpoles.

Etymology. The specific epithet is derived from the Latin word “ australis ”, meaning “southern” in English, and is applied in reference to the distribution of this species in southern Peninsular Malaysia that also represents the southern-most distributional limit of the entire genus.

Chan Kin Onn, Robin Kurian Abraham, Jesse L. Grismer and L. Lee Grismer. 2018. Elevational Size Variation and Two New Species of Torrent Frogs from Peninsular Malaysia (Anura: Ranidae: Amolops Cope). Zootaxa. 4434(2); 250–264. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4434.2.2

Kin Onn Chan, Alana M. Alexander, Lee L. Grismer, et al. 2017. Species Delimitation with Gene Flow: A Methodological Comparison and Population Genomics Approach to Elucidate Cryptic Species Boundaries in Malaysian Torrent Frogs.  Molecular Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/mec.14296 

[PaleoMammalogy • 2018] Ambolestes zhoui • An Early Cretaceous Eutherian from the Jehol Biota, northeastern China and the Placental–Marsupial Dichotomy

 Ambolestes zhoui
 Bi, Zheng, Wang, Cignetti, Yang & Wible, 2018

Molecular estimates of the divergence of placental and marsupial mammals and their broader clades (Eutheria and Metatheria, respectively) fall primarily in the Jurassic period. Supporting these estimates, Juramaia—the oldest purported eutherian—is from the early Late Jurassic (160 million years ago) of northeastern China. Sinodelphys—the oldest purported metatherian—is from the same geographic area but is 35 million years younger, from the Jehol biota. Here we report a new Jehol eutherianAmbolestes zhoui, with a nearly complete skeleton that preserves anatomical details that are unknown from contemporaneous mammals, including the ectotympanic and hyoid apparatus. This new fossil demonstrates that Sinodelphys is a eutherian, and that postcranial differences between Sinodelphys and the Jehol eutherian Eomaia—previously thought to indicate separate invasions of a scansorial niche by eutherians and metatherians—are instead variations among the early members of the placental lineage. The oldest known metatherians are now not from eastern Asia but are 110 million years old from western North America, which produces a 50-million-year ghost lineage for Metatheria.

Class Mammalia Linnaeus, 1758
Infraclass Eutheria sensu Huxley, 1880

Order incertae sedis
Family incertae sedis

Ambolestes gen. nov.

Ambolestes zhoui sp. nov.

Etymology: Ambo (Latin), both, in reference to the mixture of features previously held to be from eutherians and metatherians; lestes (Greek), robber, a common ending for Cretaceous eutherians. The specific name zhoui is given in reference to Zhonghe Zhou, for his pioneering studies of the Jehol biota.

Shundong Bi, Xiaoting Zheng, Xiaoli Wang, Natalie E. Cignetti, Shiling Yang and John R. Wible. 2018. An Early Cretaceous Eutherian and the Placental–Marsupial Dichotomy. Nature.

Chinese scientists identify new mammal ancestor

[Herpetology • 2018] Molecular Phylogeny and Diversification of Malagasy Bright-eyed Tree Frogs (Mantellidae: Boophis)

in Hutter, Lambert, Andriampenomanana, et al., 2018

• We estimated the first multi-locus phylogeny of Boophis frogs.
• Found that the B. ulftunni group was nested within the B. majori group.
• We erect the new B. blommersae group, composed of small, brown stream breeding frogs.
• We illustrate examples of correlated and repeated evolution in coloration and ventral transparency.
Boophis diversified within the Eastern highland forests of Madagascar.
• Adaptation to these highland areas was important in their diversification.

We investigate the molecular phylogeny of Boophis, a group of arboreal frogs from the Malagasy-Comoroan family Mantellidae. Based on newly acquired DNA sequences of five mitochondrial and five nuclear markers (7444 base pairs), we infer a phylogeny of Boophis with complete species-level taxon sampling. We reconstruct the phylogeny using Bayesian inference and maximum likelihood and estimate divergence dates for the major clades of the genus. The phylogenetic analyses together support the monophyly of the two subgenera (Sahona and Boophis), and provide strong support for most previously identified species groups, except that the B. ulftunni group is nested within the B. majori group. We also erect a new species group related to the B. mandraka group, the B. blommersae group, composed of small-sized, brown stream-breeding frogs previously included within the B. majori group. Finally, we use the resulting phylogeny to illustrate striking examples of repeated evolution of coloration and ventral transparency and address the biogeographic history and broad pattern of species diversification in the genus. Ancestral area reconstructions provide evidence that Boophis diversified within the Eastern highland forests of Madagascar, and we suggest that adaptation to these highland areas was important in their diversification.

Keywords: Amphibia; Anura; Biogeography; Dispersal; Madagascar; Phylogeny

Carl R. Hutter, Shea M. Lambert, Zo F. Andriampenomanana, Frank Glaw and Miguel Vences. 2018. Molecular Phylogeny and Diversification of Malagasy Bright-eyed Tree Frogs (Mantellidae: Boophis). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. In Press.  DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2018.05.027

[Herpetology • 2018] Sitana gokakensis & S. thondalu • Two New Endemic and Cryptic Species of Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from peninsular India

Sitana gokakensis  S. thondalu 
Deepak, Khandekar, Chaitanya & Karanth, 2018

Two new cryptic species of the agamid genus Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from Peninsular India are described herein. Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. from Gokak, Karnataka closely resembles Sitana thondalu sp. nov. from Nagarjuna Sagar, Andhra Pradesh. The two species can be distinguished based on their subtle morphological differences, genetic difference and geographic distribution. Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. have a relatively depressed head compared to Sitana thondalu sp. nov. Additionally, the vertebral scale counts differ in females of the two new species (Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. 45–47 vs Sitana thondalu sp. nov. 49–53). Genetic divergence between them is comparable to those between previously described Sitana species. Furthermore, the two new species are distributed ca. 500 km apart and are endemic to their respective landscapes that lie in similar latitudes of peninsular India. We urge the use of large sample size in new species descriptions especially those dealing with cryptic species like Sitana. The discovery of the two new cryptic species from these rocky terrains in peninsular India highlights need for more herpetological exploration in this region.

Keywords: Reptilia, cryptic species, DNA, fan-throated lizards, peninsular India, Sitana, taxonomy 

FIGURE 9. Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. colouration in life. uncollected adult females from the type locality.

Sitana gokakensis sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet is an adjectival toponym and refers to the Gokak plateau of Belagavi district in Karnataka, to which this species is endemic.
Suggested common name. Gokak fan-throated lizard.

Distribution. Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. is endemic to Gokak plateau in Belagavi district, Karnataka (Fig. 1). The samples collected from north and south outside this plateau (Nipani, Ramdurga, Bagalkot) were of S. laticeps. The Ghataprabha is a rocky river and a potential geographical barrier for this species.

Sitana thondalu sp. nov.

Etymology. The specific epithet is a noun in apposition, derived from the Telugu word thondalu for an agamid lizard in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.
Suggested English name. Nagarjuna Sagar fan-throated lizard

Distribution. Sitana thondalu sp. nov. is found in Macherala and Nagarjuna Sagar, Guntur District, in Andhra Pradesh state. This species was only recorded from these two localities during this study (Fig. 1). The altitudinal distribution is between 180 and 200 m a.s.l.

 Sitana gokakensis sp. nov. colouration in life. 
Holotype (BNHS 2490) in life.

  Sitana thondalu sp. nov. colouration in life. 
Holotype (BNHS 2492) in life.

V. Deepak, Akshay Khandekar, R. Chaitanya and Praveen Karanth. 2018. Descriptions of Two New Endemic and Cryptic Species of Sitana Cuvier, 1829 from peninsular India. Zootaxa. 4434(2); 327–365.  DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4434.2.5

[Herpetology • 2018] Hemidactylus paaragowli • A New Species of Riparian Rock-dwelling Gecko (Genus: Hemidactylus) from the southern Western Ghats, India

Hemidactylus paaragowli
 Srikanthan, Swamy, Mohan & Pal, 2018

 Travancore Rock Gecko || DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4434.1.9


We describe a new species of rock-dwelling gecko, Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov., from the Agastyamalai Hill Range, in the southern Western Ghats. Morphological and molecular data support the distinctiveness of the species and its close relationship to other large-bodied, tuberculate Hemidactylus spp. from the H. prashadi group from India and Sri Lanka. This species belongs to a rupicolous complex and can be distinguished from other members of the group based on the following characters: 22–24 longitudinal rows of fairly regularly arranged, subtrihedral, weakly keeled, striated tubercles at midbody; 9–11 and 10–12 subdigital lamellae on the first and fourth digits, respectively, of both manus and pes; tail with transverse series of four enlarged tubercles on each tail segment; 10–12 femoral pores on each side separated by 16–18 scales without pores; 11–13 supralabials and 9–10 infralabials.

Keywords: Reptilia, Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov., Hemidactylus prashadi group, Agastyamalai, Western Ghats, India

Hemidactylus paaragowli sp. nov.

Etymology. The species name is derived from the languages, Malayalam and Tamil. H. paaragowli sp. nov. is named after the habitat it inhabits, namely large rocks; paara means rock and gowli means gecko in both languages. ‘Gowli’ is derived from traditional South Indian mythological scriptures known as Gowli Shasthra; a set of superstitious beliefs based on where a falling gecko would land on a person. The specific epithet is formed as a noun in apposition. We conferred this name to this taxon for its predominant distribution in South India. We suggest the common name Travancore Rock Gecko for this species.

 Achyuthan N. Srikanthan, Priyanka Swamy, Ashwini V. Mohan and Saunak Pal. 2018. A Distinct New Species of Riparian Rock-dwelling Gecko (Genus: Hemidactylus) from the southern Western Ghats. Zootaxa.  4434(1); 141–157.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4434.1.9


[Crustacea • 2018] Stenasellus tashanicus • A New Species of Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897 (Isopoda, Stenasellidae) from Iran, with A Key to the western Asian Species

Stenasellus tashanicus

 Khalaji-Pirbalouty, Fatemi, Malek-Hosseini & Kuntner, 2018

A new stenasellid isopod is described from Tashan Cave, Khuzestan Province, south-west Iran, belonging to the genus Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897. The first recorded species of Stenasellidae from Iran, Stenasellus tashanicus sp. n., is diagnosed by the presence of antennae with a minute squama bearing paired, long, robust setae; a maxilliped endite with six coupling hooks; and slender appendix masculina with an acute apex. A revised generic diagnosis is provided with a key to the six known western Asian Stenasellus species.

Keywords: Iran, Stenasellus, Stenasellidae, Stygobitic, Tashan Cave

Figure 1. Tashan Cave. A Cave opening B a pool inside the cave
C live specimen of Stenasellus tashanicus sp. n., in its habitat D Stenasellus tashanicus sp. n., and cave fish Garra tashanensis Mousavi-Sabet, Vatandoust, Fatemi & Eagderi, 2016.

Aselloidea Latreille, 1802
Family Stenasellidae Dudich, 1924
Genus Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897

Type species
Stenasellus virei Dollfus, 1897, by monotypy.

Diagnosis: Diagnoses to the genus can be found in Dollfus (1897) and Magniez (1966). The generic diagnosis presented here is more detailed than has been previously presented: Body lateral margins parallel and setose; pereonite VII longest; the antennal peduncle is 6-articulate, article VI longest, approximately 1.6 times the article V. Left mandible with incisor and lacinia mobilis bearing four cusps. Pereopod I with triangular carpus, dactylus elongated, an inferior margin with a row of contiguous scale-like flattened setae. Pereopods II-VII with an oval basis bearing some long distally plumose setae on the superior margin; dactylus shorter than elongated main unguis, bearing two secondary unguis. Pleopod I uniramous, protopod mesial margin with a simple RS or a single coupling hook, exopod elongated, mesial margin with a row distally plumose setae, distal margin fringed with a row of tiny simple short setae. Pleopod II exopod 2-articulate, article I short and without setae, article II longer than I, oval or round.


Stenasellus tashanicus sp. n.

Diagnosis: Body dorsal surface smooth, with scattered marginal setae. Antenna reaching to pereonite V posterior margin in male specimen, with a squama bearing three simple setae on the outer margin of the third article. Maxilla lateral and middle endites each bearing 11 curved pectinate RS; mesial margin of maxilliped endite with six coupling hooks. Appendix masculina slender, elongated, tapering to a curved acute apex; endopod of pleopods III–V distally bifurcated.

Etymology: The name of this species comes from the type locality, the Tashan Cave, Iran.

Habitat: The isopods were collected from two pools in the dark zone of the Tashan Cave (at 20 to 200 cm depths). They were observed in all life cycle stages. They were observed crawling on the floor and hiding inside the sediment and cavities of the pools, as well as swimming in the water column. Mousavi-Sabet et al. (2016) described a blind fish from this cave (see Fig. 1D).

 Valiallah Khalaji-Pirbalouty, Yaser Fatemi, Mohammad Javad Malek-Hosseini and Matjaž Kuntner. 2018. A New Species of Stenasellus Dollfus, 1897 from Iran, with A Key to the western Asian Species (Crustacea, Isopoda, Stenasellidae).  ZooKeys. 766: 39-50.  DOI: 10.3897/zookeys.766.23239

Friday, June 15, 2018

[Paleontology • 2018] Electrorana limoae • The Earliest Direct Evidence of Frogs in Wet Tropical Forests from Cretaceous Burmese Amber

Electrorana limoae
Xing, Stanley, Bai & Blackburn, 2018

Illustration: Damir G. Martin || 

Frogs are a familiar and diverse component of tropical forests around the world. Yet there is little direct evidence from the fossil record for the antiquity of this association. We describe four fossil frog specimens from mid-Cretaceous (~99 mya) amber deposits from Kachin State, Myanmar for which the associated fauna provides rich paleoenvironmental context. Microcomputed tomographic analysis provides detailed three-dimensional anatomy for these small frogs, which is generally unavailable for articulated anurans in the Mesozoic. These crown-group anuran specimens provide the earliest direct evidence for anurans in a wet tropical forest. Based on a distinct combination of skeletal characters, at least one specimen has clear similarities to living alytoid frogs as well as several Mesozoic taxa known from the Jehol Biota in China. Whereas many Mesozoic frogs are from seasonal and mesic paleoenvironments, these fossils provide the earliest direct evidence of anurans in wet tropical forests.


Systematic Paleontology
Order Anura Fischer von Waldheim, 1813.
? Alytoidea Fitzinger, 1843.

Family undetermined.

Genus Electrorana gen. nov.  
Type species Electrorana limoae sp. nov.;  

Etymology: Electrorana is feminine and derives from the Latin electrum (amber) and rana (frog). The specific epithet, limoae, is a matronym in the genitive singular for Mrs. Mo Li, who purchased and provided these specimens for study.

Type locality and horizon: These amber-preserved specimens were acquired in the area of Angbamo in Kachin Province of northern Myanmar in August 2015. Burmese amber derives from late Albian–Cenomanian deposits (approx. 105–95 mya). Dating of zircons from the volcaniclastic matrix in these deposits provides an age of 98.8 ± 0.6 million years.

Figure 1 Photograph images of four fossil frog specimens referred to Electrorana,
including the holotype (A; DIP-L-0826) and three additional specimens (B: DIP-V-16119; C: DIP-V-16127; D: DIP-V-16121).
Specimens in (B) and (D) are presented with two views of the amber specimen and the oval in (D) indicates the presence of the anuran specimen.
Scale bars equal 5 mm.

Illustration: Damir G. Martin 

Lida Xing, Edward L. Stanley, Ming Bai and David C. Blackburn. 2018. The Earliest Direct Evidence of Frogs in Wet Tropical Forests from Cretaceous Burmese Amber.  Scientific Reports.   8, Article number: 8770

Amber fossils provide oldest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests via @EurekAlert
World's Oldest Rain Forest Frogs Found in Amber   @NatGeo
Amber fossils provide oldest evidence of frogs in wet, tropical forests


Thursday, June 14, 2018

[Ichthyology • 2018] Oryzias dopingdopingensis • A New Riverine Ricefish of the Genus Oryzias (Beloniformes, Adrianichthyidae) from Malili, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia

Oryzias dopingdopingensis 
Mandagi, Mokodongan, Tanaka & Yamahira, 2018

We describe Oryzias dopingdopingensis, a new species of ricefish, from Doping-doping River, a river in Malili in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. The new riverine species is distinguished from lacustrine congeners in Malili Lakes by a combination of 33–36 scales along the lateral midline and body depths of 20.3–25.5% standard length (SL). Oryzias dopingdopingensis, new species, is also distinguished from all other Sulawesi Oryzias by a combination of 8–9 dorsal-fin rays, caudal peduncle depths of 10.2–11.4% SL, eye diameters of 8.5–9.9% SL, and maximum SL up to 35.8 mm. In breeding males, 5–8 black blotches or bars appear along the lateral midline. Analyses of mitochondrial ND2 sequences revealed that O. dopingdopingensis, new species, carry distinct haplotypes from those of the Malili lacustrine species, suggesting no hybridization between them, although Doping-doping River shares an estuarine region with the Malili Lake system. Instead, O. dopingdopingensis, new species, is in a monophyletic group with O. sarasinorum and O. eversi in western Sulawesi. However, unlike these two pelvic brooders, we observed that females of O. dopingdopingensis, new species, deposit eggs soon after spawning and exhibit no maternal care.

Fig. 3. Live adult male (Top) and female (Bottom) of Oryzias dopingdopingensis in the laboratory.

(Photographs by N. Hashimoto).

Oryzias dopingdopingensis, new species 
Doping-doping Ricefish
New Japanese name: Dopindopin-medaka

Etymology.— The specific name, dopingdopingensis, denotes the occurrence of this species in the Doping-doping River, the type locality.

Ixchel F. Mandagi, Daniel F. Mokodongan, Rieko Tanaka and Kazunori Yamahira. 2018.A New Riverine Ricefish of the Genus Oryzias (Beloniformes, Adrianichthyidae) from Malili, Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Copeia. 106(2):297-304. DOI:  10.1643/CI-17-704

Kami mendiskripsikan Oryzias dopingdopingensis, satu jenis baru ikan padi dari sungai Doping-doping, sebuah sungai di Malili di Sulawesi Tengah, Indonesia. Jenis baru yang hidup di sungai ini dibedakan dari jenis yang hidup di danau-danau Malili dengan kombinasi dari 33–36 jumlah sisik sepanjang garis sisi dan lebar tubuh 20.3–25.5% SL. Oryzias dopingdopingensis, jenis baru ini, juga dibedakan dari semua Oryzias Sulawesi lainnya dengan kombinasi dari 8–9 jumlah jari-jari sirip belakang, lebar dari batang ekor 10.2–11.4% SL, diameter mata 8.5–9.9% SL, dan maksimal SL mencapai 35.8 mm. Jantan dalam masa perkembangbiakannya, 5–8 bercak-bercak hitam atau baris akan muncul di sepanjang garis sisi. Analisis urutan mitokondria ND2 memperlihatkan bahwa O. dopingdopingensis, jenis baru ini, memiliki haplotype yang berbeda dari jenis yang hidup di daerah danau Malili, Ini menunjukkan tidak terjadi hibridisasi diantara mereka, walaupun Sungai Doping-doping berbagi wilayah muara dengan Danau Malili system. Sebagai gantinya, O. dopingdopingensis, jenis baru ini, menjadi monofiletik dengan O. sarasinorum dan O. eversi di Sulawesi bagian barat. Tidak seperti dua “pelvic brooders”, bagaimanapun, kami mengamati bahwa betina dari O. dopingdopingensis, jenis baru ini, melepaskan telur-telurnya segera setelah pemijahan dan tidak menunjukkan “maternal care”.

[Ecology • 2018] The Evolution of Foraging Capacity and Gigantism in Cetaceans

Different marine vertebrates exploiting a bait ball of forage fish.

in Goldbogen & Madsen, 2018.

The extant diversity and rich fossil record of cetaceans provides an extraordinary evolutionary context for investigating the relationship between form, function and ecology. The transition from terrestrial to marine ecosystems is associated with a complex suite of morphological and physiological adaptations that were required for a fully aquatic mammalian life history. Two specific functional innovations that characterize the two great clades of cetaceans, echolocation in toothed whales (Odontoceti) and filter feeding in baleen whales (Mysticeti), provide a powerful comparative framework for integrative studies. Both clades exhibit gigantism in multiple species, but we posit that large body size may have evolved for different reasons and in response to different ecosystem conditions. Although these foraging adaptations have been studied using a combination of experimental and tagging studies, the precise functional drivers and consequences of morphological change within and among these lineages remain less understood. Future studies that focus at the interface of physiology, ecology and paleontology will help elucidate how cetaceans became the largest predators in aquatic ecosystems worldwide.

Keywords: Scaling, Odontocetes, Mysticetes, Diving, Filter feeding, Echolocation

Fig. 1. Illustration of different marine vertebrates exploiting a bait ball of forage fish.
Among these species are many particulate feeders (e.g. cormorants, sea lions and dolphins), those that are largely limited to capturing one prey at a time. This contrasts with bulk filter feeding, characterized by the engulfment of large numbers of prey in a single mouthful, here represented by a humpback whale.
 Illustration by Alex Boersma.

J. A. Goldbogen and P. T. Madsen. 2018. The Evolution of Foraging Capacity and Gigantism in Cetaceans. Journal of Experimental Biology. 221: jeb166033. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.166033 

[Botany • 2018] Pleurothallis hawkingii & P. vide-vallis (Orchidaceae; Epidendroideae) • Two New Species from Cordillera de Guanacaste in Costa Rica

Pleurothallis hawkingii Karremans & J.E.Jiménez

in Karremans & Jiménez, 2018.


Two new species of Pleurothallis are described from the Cordillera de Guanacaste in northern Costa Rica. Both novelties belong to Pleurothallis sect. Macrophyllae-Fasciculatae, among which they can be recognised by their fasciculate inflorescence with numerous simultaneously produced flowers, a rare feature in the species-rich group. This feature is shared with Pleurothallis bothros, putatively their closest relative. Both novelties may be distinguished from that species by their non-spreading (vs. spreading), pale yellow to pinkish flowers (vs. green) and broad, oblique petals (vs. narrow, straight). Pleurothallis hawkingii can be easily distinguished from Pleurothallis vide-vallis by its broader panduriform lip with raised margins and depressed basal glenion (vs. narrow lanceolate lip, lacking raised margins, with the glenion raised on a high basal callus).

Keywords: Monocots, Northern Costa Rica; Miravalles; new species; Pleurothallis; Stephen Hawking; taxonomy

Pleurothallis hawkingii Karremans & J.E.Jiménez  sp. nov.

 Eponomy:— Honouring the English theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author Stephen William Hawking, who passed away the day this manuscript was submitted, 14 March 2018.


Pleurothallis vide-vallis Karremans & J.E.Jiménez, sp. nov.

 Etymology:—From the Latin, videre, to see, and vallis, valley, referring to the Miravalles Volcano, which in Spanish means overlooking the valleys.

Adam P. Karremans and José Esteban Jiménez. 2018. Pleurothallis hawkingii and Pleurothallis vide-vallis (Orchidaceae; Epidendroideae), Two New Species from Cordillera de Guanacaste in Costa Rica. Phytotaxa. 349(2); 185–191. DOI:  10.11646/phytotaxa.349.2.10